How to Migrate to New Zealand: Tips from a Filipina Living in New Zealand
Recently, I was researching and discovered that a lot of Filipinos have been Googling how to migrate to New Zealand. Since I have a close friend who has been living there for several years now, I thought about interviewing her and getting some tips in the hopes of helping others.
Aniselle Santos Ruiz, Ani for short, is one of my kabarkadas since grade school in Poveda. Additionally, we were softball teammates from grade school up until high school. Eventually, we became Ultimate Frisbee teammates in college. We both went to Ateneo—she took up Management while I studied Creative Writing. On top of all this, we were Days with the Lord sisters. Plus, she was one of my bridesmaids!
Her migrating to New Zealand years ago actually broke my heart. I remember attending her despedida in Skinny Mike’s and being all smiles. But as soon as we said our goodbyes and the Cupcake and I walked to the parking lot, I started bawling! It was truly bittersweet. But I knew it was something she really wanted to do. And so, I fully supported her.
Nowadays, I enjoy hearing her stories about living in New Zealand. The country certainly offers an amazing list of opportunities. Perhaps this is why more and more Filipinos are exploring migrating to New Zealand. And if you’re one of them, I hope my discussion with Ani helps! While reading, check out beautiful photos that Ani’s husband, Marvin, took of the different places they’ve visited.
How to Migrate to New Zealand: Ani’s Experience
“I think the very first thing I did was to look at the New Zealand immigration website. The website can help you determine which visa would best fit your plans or best fit your current situation. There are so many options—such as a student visa, skilled migrant work visa, or investor visa before they even had a working holiday visa. The immigration website is really helpful with the requirements and fees needed. I always refer to it when I’m unsure of anything!”
“I was honestly only looking to go to New Zealand to experience a different country. So my thought back then was just to study and work for a year or two and eventually go back home. So I took the study route.”
Student Visa Route
“Before you’re able to get a student visa, you’ll need to apply for a school, submit all the documents they require, and wait to get an offer letter. Once you have the offer letter from the school, you can now apply for your student visa. They are quite extensive with the requirements needed—such as proof of funds, medical requirements, medical insurance during your stay, and police clearance.”
“While you’re on a student visa, you are allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours per week. This is also a good way to get experience working in New Zealand. Since companies always try to look for your ‘NZ experience’ when finding a job. But really—skills are the same and transferrable wherever you are in the world! So don’t get intimidated when they say they are looking for ‘NZ experience’!”
“After finishing your studies (this depends on the level or the qualification that you have finished), you are able to apply for a post-study work visa which can be valid for 1 to 3 years. With this visa, you can work for any employer full-time. This is where you can get more NZ experience again. And at the same time, land the job that you like and work hard to get your employer to support you for your next working visa—which could be the work to residence visa (Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa).”
Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa
“The Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa is a point-based system visa. So the more points you have, the more chances you’ll be approved. Points are based on age, skills, qualifications, and work experience. There are forms that your employer needs to complete as well—so definitely check with them if they are open to supporting you on this.”
“I can’t say much about this visa since my plans evolved and changed before applying for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa. I met the love of my life so I was diverted to getting a Partner of a New Zealander Resident Visa.”
Ani met her husband (who is also a Filipino) when she moved to New Zealand. One of their hobbies together is going on adventures around the country—as seen in the photos. You can check out more of their videos on YouTube at AniMarv VLOG.
3 Tips on How to Migrate to New Zealand
When it comes to tips on how to migrate to New Zealand, Ani shares three.
1. Do a lot of research!
“Do a lot of research whether it be visa options, schools or programs you want to enroll in, or jobs you want to apply for. You can check if your job is on the skills shortage list, too. These are basically the jobs that New Zealand needs! So you will definitely have an easier time moving to New Zealand if you’re part of this list!”
“I’ve also heard some people rely on agents to make it easier for them. But honestly, if you do your homework and your research, you can process all the papers on your own without paying exorbitant fees to an agency! Fewer chances for you to get scammed as well. You can save those agency fees for when you get to New Zealand and use them on other expenses that are more important!”
2. Prepare yourself—mentally, physically, and emotionally.
“Let’s face it. What others see is that it’s all great and fancy. That you’re so lucky. But really, it is a lot of hard work. You have to start everything from a clean slate, move out of your comfort zone, and come to a place where you know nothing of and don’t know anyone. You really have to humble yourself sometimes, face rejections, and start from the bottom—while having to receive support from family and friends far away and in a different time zone.”
“In the beginning, there were lonely nights! For three years straight, I cried by myself on my birthday just because I couldn’t be with my family and friends back home.”
“Fixing visas can be really stressful, too. And waiting for the result of it is really stressful also. Because that determines whether you can stay in the country or need to go back home!”
3. Be confident!
“I know earlier I did say to humble yourself. But at the same time, we need to be confident! This is something I wish I told myself before! Don’t sell yourself short just because you come from another country. Filipinos are smart, hard-working individuals with great personalities and you’ve got to own it! Don’t be fooled by needing ‘NZ Experience’!”
How to Migrate to New Zealand: It’s Possible But It Takes a Lot of Work
Based on Ani’s first-hand experience, it’s not a walk in the park. But researching well and weighing the pros and cons can help you determine if you should make the bold move to migrate. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line or send me a message on Instagram. I’ll try my best to ask Ani! Or if you’re also a Filipino living in New Zealand, perhaps you can share your own experience and tips in the comment section!